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Table 1 Radiation doses and estimated cancer risk from common radiological examinations and isotope scans

From: Economic and biological costs of cardiac imaging

Type of test Effective radiation dose (mSv) Equivalent period of natural background radiation Lifetime additional risk of cancer/examination Lost life expectancy Equivalent n. of chest x-rays
Chest radiograph 0.01 A few days Negligible risk 2 minutes 1
Skull radiograph 0.1 A few weeks Minimal risk (1 in 100,000 to 1 in1,000,000) 20 minutes 5
Lung isotope scan 1 A few months to a year Very low risk (1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000) 3 hrs 50
Cardiac gated study 10 A few years
(4 years)
Low risk
(1 in 2,000)
2 days 500
Thallium scan 20 (8 years) (1 in 1,000) 4 days 1000